Van Gaal was ahead of his time, says Xavi

The Barcelona legend recalls that the Manchester United manager was a “very complete coach” when he was in charge of the Catalans earlier in his career

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi believes Louis van Gaal was ahead of his time when he coached the Catalans and has backed the Dutchman to succeed at Manchester United.

The ex-Spain international worked with Van Gaal at Camp Nou between 1997 and 2000, as well as during his second spell in charge or Barcelona in 2002-03.

“People criticise Van Gaal on a human level because he is very direct and people think he is arrogant,” the 35-year-old, who now plays for Al Sadd in Qatar, said.

“He was ahead of his time when he coached Barcelona. He worked to perfect the training sessions and improve the team technically and tactically.

“Twenty years ago he was a very complete coach. 

“He will do a very good job at Manchester United in the long term. He will make them very strong in the Premier League and in the Champions League.

“I am convinced that he will do a great job.”

Van Gaal guided United back into the top four in the Premier League in his first season in charge, helping them back to the Champions League after their seventh-placed finish in the preceding campaign.

The Old Trafford side currently sit fifth in the table with seven point from their first four games.

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